[QUOTE=Whitesheep;748173]As for which method is best, I have settled on the length first then powder weight second method and have found in some rifles that COL makes a much bigger difference in accuracy than powder weight. I have a .308 FNAR that is picky about length (likes 'em short like me
), but really couldn't care about powder weight. Sure the POI moves, but the groups stay the same. This is for 0.5 gr increments over about a total of 2grs FWIW.
I still think small caliber rifle accuracy is a very complex system with multiple accuracy minimums. The trick is to find one that works for what you want it to do. Once I hit 1 MOA consistently, I am done and now practicing with that round. Could there be better ones a 0.005" COL or a 0.1 gr away? Maybe when I have more range time I will find them, but for now 1 MOA is good enough for me.
Interesting...you settled on length first, then charge level. Dan Newbury's OCW method talks about all this, and then he varies the length as the final touch. For review: (or just google optimum charge weight)
I like the theory behind the OCW method because it basically determines the load that is most component-variance independent. But I have not tried it, so don't know if the fine tuning by length adjustment at the end of the process will result in the (practically speaking) tightest groups possible for that gun.
It sounds like we are all over the map in our techniques, falling into 2 or 3 obvious "camps". There are good arguments for each, and it doesn't seem like there is 1 best way to do it.
I will say that I tend to nitpick my loads ad infinitum and I often wonder if its me or the load that causes groups to open up to 1 MOA.
1 MOA accuracy is good enough to practice shooting skills at 100 - 200 yards, but not when the targets are out at 400+ yards. I have a semi auto that routinely returns 3 of 4 rounds in under .5" @100 but the flier is always about 1" - 1.5" away. This makes me think it is unsuitable for hunting shots past 300 yards. So now I have to buy a bolt action in that caliber (270) to experiement more!